Meniscal tears normally happen when the knee joint is twisted while bent. This can occur during sports or even in the course of non strenuous activities like walking.
They can produce pain and sometimes swelling around the knee joint and occasionally clicking, locking or catching around the joint.
Commonly the tears cause pain while the knee is being used but during rest periods the pain is alleviated.
Key indications that you have a meniscal tear:
If the cause of pain is not clear from the tests outlined above then the menisci can be examined using an MRI scan.
Treatment varies according to the patient’s needs but can include the following:
If recommended this involves taking a break from any strenuous activities to give the joint time to heal along with special exercises designed to strengthen the muscles around the knee.
The patient may be asked to take a mild pain killer such as Paracetamol and/or an anti inflammatory.
This is most common for patients with locked knees. The aim of surgery is to repair the tear.
Where the tear is far away from the blood supply to the meniscus arthroscopic surgery is recommended. This involves removing the torn tissue.
If the meniscus is completely and irreversibly damaged then a menisectomy is carried out whereby the meniscus is removed.
Meniscal tears are a very common type of knee injury. If they are properly diagnosed and treated patients tend to have no long lasting problems.